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Letters to the Editor for May 8, 2022: Essential and overlooked

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Essential and overlooked

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

In response to your ongoing series — “Essential and Overlooked: Federal relief changed Virginia's COVID response. For some Latinos, help came too late." — it seems the pandemic's progression was full of oversights and mishandling. It is shocking to continue to learn of people who have been forgotten, overlooked and done a disservice to by a country that so often claims to take care of its citizens.

These stories beg the question: Is the U.S. a country that prides itself on caring for Americans, but ultimately thrives on pseudo-altruism and false concern?

As we move forward from the COVID-19 pandemic, I just keep thinking about how hard it has been. I have seen families grieve, and health care workers plead for support and change. I have felt the fear and anxiety that come with an unknown and changed future.

What I cannot even begin to fathom is how different this all might feel for those who are parts of a marginalized community “overlooked” by members of society, specifically policymakers. As this series shows, there are challenges families experience that I and others never will have to face in life.

I am challenging myself and others to keep these anecdotes, and the empathy that comes from them, at the forefront of their concerns. If you find yourself facing an injustice, challenge yourself to think of someone left behind who could be even more negatively affected.

In these moments, true altruism would be putting needs of others before your own. At times, that can be unrealistic. So instead, I ask others to save your neighbors as you make efforts to save yourself. When reaching out to elected officials, do so for yourself and for others.

That is patriotism: taking care of each other. Be the image we feel the need to so proudly paint.

Hayley Jenkins.

Richmond.

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